Contentment and Peace in 2020

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I’ve tried to camouflage my New Year’s Resolutions by calling this blog post “A Look Ahead to 2020” or “Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional Balance in 2020,” and finally, “Contentment and Peace in 2020.” I’m sure no one was fooled. 

The title “A Look Ahead to 2020” seemed less daunting, less frightening, less set in concrete than “My New Year’s Resolutions.” “Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional Balance in 2020” sounded too braggadocious.

The more time I spent contemplating and writing today’s blog post, I realized that by addressing four or five areas of my life, perhaps I can find a higher level of peace and contentment 2020. I concluded that is “the bottom line.” That is what I’m trying to attain in the new year.

I live in a peaceful community and a peaceful home. I’m on solid ground in my faith. I don’t yearn to have material riches. As long as I have the basic necessities for life, in that regard, I am content.

What are some things I can address in 2020 in order to find a higher level of contentment and peace?


Get My To Be Read (TBR) List Under Control

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There are 302 books on my “want to read” list on Goodreads.com. This is ridiculous! Back in October, I read a good blog post about how to attack one’s TBR. We’ve followed each other’s blogs for a year or so. She is black; I am white. She is a young adult college student; I’m 66 years old. What we have in common is a love of books.

On October 14, 2019 she wrote the tenth in a series of blog posts about tackling her TBR. I should have heeded her advice that very day, but I have procrastinated. (No one who knows me well will be surprised by that admission!)

Her October 14 blog, https://educatednegra.blog/2019/10/14/down-the-tbr-hole-10/comment-page-1/#comment-3704, resonated with me. I like her suggestion for purging one’s TBR by reading the Goodreads synopsis of a few books at a time on your TBR. After reading the synopsis, you’re bound to be able to delete some of the books from your list. As I scan down my TBR, there are many books there for which I have no idea now why I ever put them on my list. If I no longer know why a book is on the list, perhaps it’s time to delete it and get rid of the clutter.

If you haven’t discovered the beauty of Goodreads.com, I invite you to check it out the first chance you get. It’s a place where readers and writers cross paths and readers like you and I (not professional book reviewers) rate books on a one- to five-star scale and can leave an optional review. You can keep a list of books you want to read and a list of the books you’ve read.

Conclusion: Zone in on what I want to read.


Find My Niche as a Blogger

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The title of my blog is “Janet’s Writing Blog,” but it seems like more and more it has become a blog about my reading to the neglect of my writing. That is a direct reflection of my life this fall as I spent more and more time reading and less and less time writing.

By falling into the habit of blogging about the books I read one or two Mondays each month, my reading for pleasure has almost become my job. I refuse to let that happen! To address this in 2020, I need to reevaluate how I approach my blog. This is not a contest. The one who reads the most books does not win.

I usually challenge myself to read a certain number of books each year. It gives me a good feeling for a few seconds when I reach my goal; however, I’m setting myself up for failure by making a goal of reading an arbitrary number of books. Why do that?

Conclusion: Make a new editorial calendar for my blog for 2020. Would my blog posts be of higher quality if I blogged twice-a-month instead of four- or five-times-a-month?


Get My Novel on the Road to Publication

Those of you who have followed my blog for the last decade have probably given up on ever seeing my novel as a real book you can hold in your hands and read. You aren’t alone. Many days it seems like a “pipe dream” to me.

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

“Get my novel on the road to publication” can mean many things. What that meant to me a year ago was the following:  get my novel manuscript into the hands of a literary agent who will put it in the hands of a publisher. After all, I’m not getting any younger.

Over the last several months I’ve started questioning my motives. Few authors get rich. I don’t aspire to become rich. I’m content to have what I need to live a life free of fear of ending up homeless and free of worry of being a burden to my family.

What I have come to realize recently is that I am equally afraid of failure and success. Does that sound crazy? I fear rejection, which is inevitable. My fear of success, though, is equal to – if not stronger than – my fear of failure.

My fear of success stems from my physical health and limitations. When my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was published in 2014, I pushed myself to make presentations at libraries and bookstores and to make “cold calls” at bookstores to introduce my book to store management. I traveled throughout the piedmont and mountains of North Carolina doing that. Do I have the energy now to do that again?

What publication of my novel looked like for the last 10 years might not be what it looks like in 2020. I’m working through that.

Conclusion:  Ask myself WHY I want my novel to be published. Figure out what my novel can look like without the pressure of meeting deadlines set by a publisher. I’ve shied away from self-publishing because I wanted the stamp of approval of a “real publisher.” Self-publishing deserves my attention as a viable option. I need to get my novel published or stop talking about it.


Make Time for Hobbies

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I have varied interests. Although I’m retired, I still can’t seem to find time to sew, quilt, play the dulcimer, work on genealogy, knit, crochet, do needlepoint, and cross-stitch. This needs to change.

Conclusion:  “Schedule” time for my hobbies instead of leaving them to chance. I’ll be a more interesting person if I do that.


Find Contentment and Peace

I seek contentment and peace. In the above list, one item sort of led to the next one. By the time I got to “Make Time for Hobbies,” I concluded that if I do what I’ve proposed today, I will surely find a higher level of contentment and peace in 2020.


Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m listening to Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark T. Sullivan. With only two of 14 discs remaining, I hate to see the book end.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time and attain your writing goals – however small or large they may be.

Thank you for reading my blog today. You had many things vying for your time, but you took a few minutes to read my blog. Thank you!


Let’s continue the conversation

How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions?

What brings you contentment and peace?

I wish for each of you to have contentment and peace in 2020.

Janet

15 thoughts on “Contentment and Peace in 2020

  1. Very good planning and very interesting things that you want to accomplish. I think I can share some of your intentions for 2020 as I too would like to read more, define my blog better, get involved in some hobbies and most importantly find contentment and peace. Worthwhile effort most surely,
    All the best,
    FBC

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really like this post for its efforts at finding solutions not just making resolutions! While I think the New Year brings the opportunity for setting goals, too often we set goals that do not take into account the realities of our time and proclivities. So bravo for really being honest with yourself.

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  3. Time will tell, Francisco. I always have grandiose plans for the new year but most fall by the wayside by the end of January. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wish you a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much, Ms. D. The lofty resolutions I’ve made in the past never panned out, so I decided to take a less stressful route for 2020. I’m eager to see how today’s post plays out in the coming year. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  5. My greatest joy in life is doing for my church, family and community. That is my top priority every year. That being said, I also have a stack of books that I want to read. I will need to take the time to go to Goodreads.com. I also want to decutter. I have so many things that I have saved over the years from student pictures and notes, Christmas cards, and clothes that I know I will never wear again. I need to take the time to take them to the thrift store. I have heard that you can take pictures of things that you just can’t seem to part with, store them on your phone or computer and that will help you. I am hoping to go room by room and make that my new resolution for 2020.

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  6. I’m thrilled to hear from you, Aleta! Maybe we can both declutter this year. I hadn’t heard the idea of taking pictures of the things you just can’t part with. That sounds good. We remodeled our kitchen several years ago. That prompted us to evaluate every item. We had many of our mother’s pots and pans, etc. We kept just a few select items. We realized that even if we didn’t keep a particular item, we still had the memory associated with it. Our plan was to go room-by-room and declutter like we’d done in the kitchen. Of course, by the time we survived the remodeling, we were too tired to declutter any other rooms. Unfortunately, we’re still using that as our excuse. Great to hear from you! Happy New Year!

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  7. You said so much of what I am thinking. I think the things you talked about are part of the territory with writers, made worse if you want to be a blogger as well. Here’s to us making things happen.

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  8. Thank you so much for your comments, Amorina Rose. It makes me feel better to know I’m not the only person or writer out there having these thoughts and struggles. I enjoy writing my blog, but I do wonder if my time would be better spent writing my novel. I hope both of us will make some things happen in 2020!

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  9. It’s a pleasure to be inside your head to find out what your asembly of ambitions are for the year–of course for many years because one year is not enough. It’s apparent that you sure are not afraid of work. I wish you well for each of them. My mind is not so well organized–not organized at all really: I start this and bounce to that and then that-there is worth looking into, anf then there’s that book, I should have been writng for three years, Yet i accomplish so much good stuff I have to gasp. Best wishes.

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  10. Hi, David. Thank you for you compliments. All this looks good on paper, but only time will tell what I get accomplished in 2020. I wish you all the best as we launch into a new year of projects and distractions.

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